The 8th of January 2003 – Austin, Texas

(found tucked within a birthday card on display at the corner pharmacy)

Dear John,

I’m writing this to you just after hanging up the phone. I had a thought, but I didn’t want to just call you back. By the time you will have called again next week, I’m afraid that I will have lost what seemed so clear to me in my head. So here it is.

I don’t like possibilities, John. I know I already said that, and I know you’re only trying to help me out, but “thinking of the possibilities” is not going to get me out of the house more often. It isn’t going to get me on a date and it isn’t going to get me in a bar to make friends.

Possibilities terrify me, not for what they are, but for what I do with them. Possibilities are beautiful and endless and enticing, and for everyone else, they seem to inspire such action. For me, they inspire thought. You want me to think about the possibilities, and that is exactly what I do. I think about them.

Think about the possibilities.

I do, I really do. John, I do it every day. I think about the possibility that I will get hit by a car on my way to work. I think about the possibility that I might win the lottery when I buy a ticket at the gas station. I think about the possibility that my fly is unzipped and everyone will laugh at me at the office. I think about that one a lot. (I just checked my fly.)

But that’s not the worst of it. I do it with people.

Think about the possibilities.

John, I create whole worlds and fill them with my dreams, honestly, whole entire worlds. And I fill them with the people that I meet, sometimes with the people that I’ve barely met. I flesh out their personalities, and I give them a special place in this world that I’ve created, this world of possibilities.

It’s a good world, John, my world of possibilities. It always is. It has music playing all the time and only the best food. Everyone is always so happy.

But then I go outside. That truly is the worst thing about possibilities, John. They are only and just possibilities. I go outside and I interact and I laugh and play and sing and cry and scream and yell, just like a normal person – just like you tell me to do, and everything goes along just well.

And then I think about the possibilities again. I look out into the world and I think about my world. And I feel it die, my world of possibilities. Wherever I keep it, in the back part of my brain, I feel it shrink and shrink until it just blinks out of existence.

I really hate seeing that world disappear. I really hate destroying those people, the ones I could have met. I really hate destroying all those lives, the ones that could have existed.

So that is why I don’t like possibilities.

Talk to you soon,

Harold

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